This year marks a big milestone for Kathy Ireland and her interior design company, Kathy Ireland Home Worldwide: it has officially been 25 years since the model and actress-turned business mogul first debuted in home furnishings back in 1993.
While the brand is now a far-reaching empire, it all started as a natural extension of Kathy Ireland’s own fashion talents. Now, the company has grown to include an expansive repertoire of customer-beloved furniture and home accessories. Through in-house designs and key licensing deals, the brand has created a range of pieces that are aspirational, luxurious, and on-trend, yet affordable for a wide range of American customers and durable to withstand everyday life.
House Tipster has had the great opportunity to speak with the design innovator on several occasions, including at major industry events like Las Vegas Market, High Point Market, and more. To celebrate Kathy Ireland Home’s 25th Anniversary, we are sharing some of the entrepreneur’s own reflections on her exciting journey.
An Inspired Vision
Kathy Ireland’s foray into the world of design began with a pair of socks (yes, you read that right!). Except, Kathy Ireland socks were unlike anything else on the market at the time. “When we began with socks 25 years ago, we were making socks out of recycled soda pop bottles and hemp.”
Designing socks led to other areas, including home decor and furniture; all created with the same focus on luxury, eco-friendliness, and affordability.
One of her earliest successes was the Kathy Ireland rug collection, which she viewed as the stepping point into the whole home/lifestyle arena. “I wanted to start from the ground up,” she explained. “In design, a wonderful place to begin when you’re putting a room together is from the ground up, with a great area rug. You can find a pattern you love and draw colors from it. A rug is a great anchor for your décor in the home.”
With a foot in so many different aspects of design, it’s hard to imagine how Kathy Ireland stays inspired. But to her, it all boils down to her customers.
“The inspiration truly is our customer. It’s listening to her, and how she’s living. It’s really listening to the customer and that casual elegance that she wants; that affordable luxury,” Ireland noted.
Not only did Kathy Ireland spearhead the recycled product trend, but she’s also remained ahead of the curve when it comes to colors.
Ireland credits her travels and time outdoors for helping to keep her design inspired and fresh.
“Of all the designers, God is the ultimate. So the colors that we find in nature, they’re so pleasing to the eye: the sky, the sand on the seashores, the mountains with pops of wildflowers. Those colors in nature are what we truly try to capture. We’re bringing the outdoors in.”
She believes that customers shouldn’t be afraid of color, they should embrace it, and she believes the Kathy Ireland Worldwide brands helps them accomplish this.
Stunning Product Lines
“At our company, Kathy Ireland Home Worldwide, we have our in-house design team. John Carrasco is our genius Global Creative Director. And each of our partners in home have their extraordinary teams. Everyone works together, so you get that cohesive design. There’s a lot of communication about what’s working, and what the customers want and are responding to. It’s all about people,” notes Ireland.
In addition to the Kathy Ireland Worldwide brand, Ireland also partners with a number of quality home decor and furnishing manufacturers and high-profile designers.
Ireland is particularly proud of her collaboration with Nourison Rugs, the case goods selection born from a partnership with Michael Amini called Michael Amini | Kathy Ireland Home Designs, and her 20-year-old lighting collection with Pacific Coast Lighting.
With unparalleled options and a focus on high-quality, accessible, eco-friendly products, Kathy Ireland, her business, and her numerous product lines are poised to continue influencing the design industry for another 25-years, or more!
Check out the full video coverage from our special 2018 Summer LVMKT interview with Kathy: